Do not keep the alabaster box of your love and friendship sealed up until your friends are dead. Fill their lives with sweetness. Speak approving, cheering words while their ears can hear them, and while their hearts can be thrilled and made happier. The kind things you mean to say when they are gone, say before they go. – George W. Childs, from Leaves of Gold
Text: Mark 14:3-8, 16:1; John 12:3
Prop: A wrapped gift box and a bottle of perfume (or jar of Noxzema cream)
Summary: Jesus was anointed for burial with a very expensive gift of spice. God has a gift for us (salvation) that is free to all who will accept Jesus as Savior.
How many of you have heard of the Spice Girls? Did you know they are mentioned in the Bible? Look at what I have with me today [a wrapped gift box]. Do you like to get gifts on your birthday? Me too. Today I want to tell you about a story where a very expensive gift was given to Jesus. A “spice girl” gave it at just the right time.
(Read Mark 14:3-8) A few days before Passover, Jesus was eating dinner at Simon’s house (the leper) in the town of Bethany. Martha and Mary, the sisters of Lazarus, were serving Jesus and his disciples. Lazarus was present, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Simon was the father of Judas, the disciple who betrayed Jesus.
Mary came to Jesus and opened a box of spice, a pound of ointment called spikenard. It was very expensive. It cost so much money that a person would have to work 300 days, or nearly a year, just to pay for it. She poured it on Jesus’ head and feet and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. (John 12:3) [sprits a little perfume in the air so the children can smell the odor, or open a jar of Noxzema cream and let them sniff it] Judas Iscariot did not really care about poor people, but he complained that the money had been wasted on this gift. He thought they could have sold it and given the money to the poor.
Jesus told Judas to leave her alone, that she had done a good work in that she came to him before the time of his death to anoint his body. She had given a gift at the proper time and Jesus accepted it. In that day, it was a custom to put spices on a person when they died to avoid unpleasant odors. They would wrap the body in clean linen and put myrrh and aloes and other spices on the body. (John 19:38-40) This was done for Jesus, but because his burial was just as the Sabbath was starting at sunset, the job was not finished.
(Read Mark 16:1] So the “spice girls” were coming to the tomb at sunrise on Sunday with “sweet spices” which they had bought. These women were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, Salome, and Joanna. They never got a chance to finish the job of anointing his body with these spices. It was too late to give this gift because Jesus had risen from the dead!
Jesus died for our sins on the cross, but he rose again from the dead. For everyone that believes that Jesus is the Son of God, and accepts Him in his or her heart, God has a special gift. God wants us to be able to live with Him forever in heaven. It is a very expensive gift; it cost Jesus His life. But like any gift, the person must receive it to be a real gift. [hold the gift box out until a child takes it from you] That gift is salvation. God gave it at just the right time, and it is free to all who will receive it. It is my hope that you will accept God’s gift of salvation when the Holy Spirit leads you to do that.
©1998 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.